Isn’t Every Christmas Shopping Day Black?

Posted: December 8, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Black Friday, is peak abhorrent behaviour.

We look on with a mixture of disgust and voyeuristic pleasure at the ‘dregs’ of society battling it out for a pointless piece of shit bargain. A friend of mine pointed out the hypocrisy of “middle classes” judging the scrums from their armchairs (like myself).

“A question for those who were disgusted by peoples’ actions: What’s a more blatant example of rank consumerism – cramming into a supermarket in the middle of the night to get 70% of a vacuum OR cramming into a German Xmas Market stall on a Saturday and Sunday morning to pay £8 for a hotdog and £50 for an ornament your four year old could make at school for a fiver?”

There seems to be a Gladiatorial element to this, the rich watch on and tut and giggle as the plebs fight for the scraps, like the Cambodian pauper children paid to beat the hell out of each other for pennies. This doesn’t explain or excuse the vileness of Black Friday though.

The scenes across the UK show signs of a society that is sinking past the ability to make any common emotional connection on the basis of anything other than fetishisation, competition and ownership of objects. The, must have, society of the spectacle.

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Instead of people working together to provide for each other, have a nice time and a festive season, our consumerist system has managed to bring us to its’ desired conclusion. We are not to feel sensible or rational any longer – we are to fight like dogs for pieces of trash that will never fill the emotional void, the Lacanian lack, in our lives – or ease the ever diminishing bank account.

We punch and kick each other to buy things we don’t need! with money we don’t have! for a festival we’ve long forgotten the meaning of if we ever knew in the first place!!!

Funnily enough up until the Victorian era, Christmas had little to do with presents, and it was deemed too pagan and too Catholic to celebrate for centuries after the Reformation.

Cynics are not wrong to suggest Christmas was a holiday built up in the Victorian era to sell picture cards, though thanks to Dickens it was given a charitable feel.

Dickens’ popularity re-introduced the ideas of festivity, gift giving and charity. So Christmas is a weird hotch potch festival, of northern European paganism, Catholic Christianity and Victorian charity and revival.

The only Black Friday I’d ever heard of was the last day of work when all the factories and industry clocked off early and everyone went binge drinking in the towns and the violence and wife beatings that followed gave the day it’s name!

Consumerism and inequality has always been at the heart of the modern Christmas as well, though – Christmas trees were introduced by the German/English Royal Family and copied by the populaces of the US and Europe and St Nicholas (Father Christmas) had his coat changed from green to red by Coca Cola’s advertising company!

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For many, and definitely me, modern consumerism is just too much. Unlike the middle class arbiters of taste, I actually don’t have two pennies to rub together. Never have had much.

When I was married and working full time in R&D we were still up to our eyes in debt. For many people it won’t be a holiday. Most of us have to force ourselves through a mire of family politics, separated from children, ranking presents and a constant eye on the bank account.

For others it will be a lot worse, old people freezing through winter, deciding to heat or eat, women and children in sheltered homes, homeless people trying to find a place to sleep where they won’t be beaten up, or moved on by police and have their belongings confiscated.

The last two months (at least, probably three) was non-stop buy, buy, buy, like in someway it’s going to fill the gap that a genuine connection to other human beings might fill.

It is an old familiar trope, and we’ve all heard it before, whether we’re buying our German Xmas hotdog, or our shite ASDA widescreen TVs, we don’t seem any happier. And we certainly ain’t better off.

I don’t like the imported concept of Black Friday. I think it’s a shame that it’s a fad over here now. But I acknowledge – People feel poor. When things are cheap (especially before Xmas), they buy them. It’s a shame that we live in a society where we are defined by what we own,

It is easy and enjoyable to feel superior, and tut and scorn, but, let’s actually try and challenge the conditions that create this need and desire for cheap goods. We need to organise, not moralise.

I hear that there will be a push to organise for an austerity Christmas next year – BUY NOTHING, support strikes for the living wage, spread solidarity. Now that’s a Christmas I could enjoy!

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